Review: Nikon COOLPIX W300 Digital Camera

My first test of the Nikon COOLPIX W300 digital camera was an unplanned one. My wife and I were in line for the ferry to take us to Port aux Basques Newfoundland during our recent road trip and it fell out of my pocket onto the ground. That was a height of about 3 feet. The people around us freaked out because they were convinced that I just killed the camera. But I picked it up and proved to them that everything still worked by firing off a few pictures and showing the results on the LCD screen, which is viewable in all lighting conditions.

Clearly this is not your average digital camera. It’s meant for those who live more extreme lifestyles. That made it perfect for our road trip seeing as we were going hiking and cycling. Here’s a few other reasons why this isn’t your average camera:

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  • It is waterproof. It will survive being under water for depths up to 30 m for 60 minutes. Though I would suggest based on this experience with another Nikon camera that you acquire this strap that gives the camera the ability to float if you don’t want to dive into a lake to find. However, it can take photos and video underwater which means in that use case, you don’t need the strap.
  • It is shockproof
  • It is freezeproof to -10 celsius
  • It is dustproof

From a feel perspective, it felt well built and solid. All the ports (Mini HDMI and Micro USB) are behind a door that houses the MicroSD card slot. That door has clearly been designed to keep water and dust out as it has gaskets on it. There was no question once I started to hold it that it would survive anything that I tossed at it within reason.

In terms of what kind of pictures and videos it can take, it will capture 4K Ultra HD video, and 16MP photos. Because I put a 16GB card into the camera, I limited myself to talking 1080p videos during the road trip. The results were outstanding for the most part. Take these examples which highlights the fact that this camera has image stabilization that is insanely great. These pictures were all taken from a moving car that was doing highway speeds at the time:

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The only area where the camera struggled a bit is in low light or at night. I had some issues getting good shots in those scenarios. But as you can see, the Coolpix W300 still did okay:

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This is a great camera to take pictures with as it seems to be able to adjust itself to take the perfect picture for the most part.

In terms of video, here’s an example that I shot in 1080p:

It was windy on the day I took this video and I turned on the function that cuts the wind noise. It didn’t eliminate the wind noise, but it did a good enough job that you could hear voices at the end of the video. Other than that, I can find little to complain about the quality of the video.

One of the cool features that the COOLPIX W300 has is that it has WiFi and Bluetooth. Combined with the SnapBridge App which is available for iOS and Android, you can do a number of things:

  • You can use the phone to have the camera grab GPS co-ordinates. That’s great as I’ve used cameras with built in GPS functionality, and that functionality can really drain the camera’s battery.
  • It can automatically download photos to your phone. In my case, it downloaded 2MP versions of the photos to my iPhone and then my iPhone put them on my iCloud account. I can see how this would be handy, but I could not figure out how to upload the 16MP versions. There was an option for that in the SnapBridge App that greyed out and I could not figure out how to activate it. Optionally, you can upload your pics to Nikon IMAGE SPACE which is their cloud photo service.
  • You can use the software to act as a remote viewfinder and remotely take pictures. For example, my wife and I used this feature to take pictures of ourselves in an area of Gros Morne National Park while the camera sat on a picnic table in front of us.

Some other cool features COOLPIX W300 include the fact that you can use dedicated buttons to get access to an altimeter, GPS, and a flashlight. I found that to be handy as there were times when I wondered how close I was to sea level, or when I needed some extra light to read something.

In terms of holding the camera, it was very easy to hold it with one hand. That combined with the fact that it would survive a drop encouraged me to take these pictures on a moving bike during a bike ride in Gros Morne National Park. Which by the way you should only do if you’re an experienced cyclist (click to enlarge):

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Another cool feature is that you can change modes simply by moving the camera. But the real selling point for me was the battery life. I took over 500 photos over 13 days and I only charged the battery in the camera 4 times. That’s impressive.

The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is $500 CDN which is a great price for a camera that has these capabilities. If you have an “active” lifestyle and you need a point and shoot camera that can survive anything that your lifestyle throws at you, the Nikon COOLPIX W300 is totally worth a look.

 

 

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